Does your vape shop have a customer loyalty program? You bet it does. You may have implemented a loyalty program because it’s something that your point-of-sale system does for you automatically. Maybe you implemented it because you’ve seen some eye-popping statistics online. One website says that 87 percent of consumers expect the businesses they patronize to have loyalty programs. Another website says that a customer who joins your loyalty program will spend up to 18 percent more at your business each year – but have you actually found that to be the case?
Think about your own behavior as a consumer. Does a company’s loyalty program – or lack thereof – ever really influence your buying decisions? Your wallet is full of punch cards that you’ll never complete. You’ve signed up for so many web-based customer loyalty programs that you have no idea how close you are to earning a reward from any given merchant. You probably pay almost no attention to loyalty programs at all. Having a customer loyalty program is no longer special because every company has one.
Does Your Vape Shop’s Customer Reward Program Actually Generate a Profit?
Through our vaping SEO service, we’ve worked with vape shops around the world. In the vaping industry, buyers expect every business to have a loyalty program – so, again, simply having one doesn’t make your vape shop unique. Have you ever said any of these things about your reward program?
- Most of my customers don’t know how to track their reward points and don’t realize that they have rewards coming until I tell them so.
- I think that many of my customers still buy from competitors even though they’ve accrued reward points with my vape shop.
- I’m not certain that my loyalty program benefits my company or generates any repeat business.
- I only have a loyalty program because customers expect it. Since it costs me money without improving my bottom line, I compensate for the cost of the rewards by increasing my everyday prices.
The point of loyalty programs is that they’re supposed to increase engagement with your brand and stimulate repeat business. If your reward program isn’t generating engagement, then it’s doing nothing but siphoning money away from your bottom line.
It’s time to change that.
In this article, we’re going to share 5 insanely powerful and actionable tips that you can use to increase engagement with your loyalty program right now. With these tips, you’ll turn your loyalty program into something far greater. We’ll turn it into a game that your customers can’t wait to play – and by playing, your customers will become some of the best brand advocates that you could ever have.
Reward Actions That Bring You New Business
Part of the problem with the typical customer loyalty program is that, if customers aren’t actively engaging with it, all that you’re doing is rewarding purchases that your customers would have made either way. Generate real engagement with your loyalty program by rewarding actions that your customers might not perform otherwise.
- Give reward points when customers join your email or SMS marketing list or follow you on social media. Use those marketing channels to keep your company at the top of customers’ minds when they aren’t in your store.
- Give reward points when customers share pictures of themselves with your products on social media. By performing that action, customers are evangelizing your vape shop to their friends and family.
- Give reward points when customers review your products on your website. Product reviews increase the volume of text on your website – and having a greater amount of relevant text can potentially improve your rankings on Google.
- Give reward points when existing customers refer new customers to your store.
- Give reward points when people check in on Yelp while visiting your store. If they’re already using the Yelp app, they’ll be more likely to review your vape shop. The reviews can help to drive new business your way through Yelp.
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Start a Happy Hour Promotion
Does your vape shop have less customer traffic on certain days or in certain time ranges? Restaurants have the same problem; they’re often slow during the hours between lunch and dinner. During dinner service, though, restaurants can sometimes be so busy that they have trouble getting customers seated without long waits. What’s the solution for that problem? Happy hour! By offering happy hour discounts, restaurants increase traffic during the slow hours and offset some of the congestion that would have occurred during dinner service. Happy hour can also work for your vape shop. Offer double reward points on your slowest day of the week or during a time of the day in which you typically have lower customer traffic.
Gamify Your Loyalty Program
Have you ever played a free-to-play mobile game? If you have, you know how addictive mobile and casual games can be. Mechanics such as unlockable rewards and timers that prevent you from progressing too quickly keep you opening the game over and over. Adding game mechanics to something that isn’t a game is called gamification, and it’s a great way to maximize engagement with your loyalty program. Here are just a few ways in which you could gamify your loyalty program.
- Hold a competition in which customers can see their rankings in relation to other customers.
- Put hidden items on your website or in your reward app to encourage exploration and product discovery. Allow customers to unlock bonus reward points by discovering those items.
- Create a tiered reward program that allows customers to unlock additional discounts or other rewards as they earn points. Customers love to see things like progress bars, completion percentages and experience points in loyalty programs.
Introduce a VIP Program
Do you know what really gets customers excited? Everyone loves to know that they’re getting something other customers aren’t getting. A tiered reward program is a great way to encourage repeat purchases because customers know that they’ll earn more as they spend more. If you’re not sure how to design your vape shop’s reward tiers, we suggest looking at the Sephora Beauty Insider program for inspiration. Joining the reward program is free. All members receive reward points for purchases, free gifs on their birthdays and special savings during holiday promotions. As members increase their reward tiers, though, they gain access to perks like free shipping on all purchases, additional reward points, better birthday gifts, better holiday savings, early access to new product releases and more. It’s a perfect example of a tiered reward program that really works. At all times during the shopping experience, customers know what their current reward levels are and how close they are to unlocking the next tier. If you find a way to make a tiered reward structure work for your vape shop, your customers will always love engaging with your loyalty program.
Use a Mobile App
One of the biggest reasons why customers don’t engage with loyalty programs is because they only see their reward points when they shop at businesses or log in to those businesses’ websites. Using a mobile app is a much better way to get customers to interact with your loyalty program for three reasons.
- Customers can open the app any time to see the points they’ve accrued – no need to log in.
- It’s easy to add game elements to a mobile loyalty app by implementing things like goals and progress bars.
- Push notifications give you a way to market to your customers no matter where they are. Are you having a slow day? Generate instant business with a pop-up sale. Encourage adoption of the app by telling customers that they’ll only see your pop-up sales if they install the app.
- A mobile app can give you tracking and analytics features that allow you to create customer segments and reengage customers who haven’t visited your vape shop in a while.
One solution for starting a mobile customer loyalty program is to have a developer build the app and help you integrate it with your vape shop’s POS. With a custom-built loyalty app, you can create a customer reward program that is entirely yours and always puts your brand first.
Alternatively, you can use an existing customer loyalty solution that’s easy to customize and can integrate easily with any POS system. Two popular mobile loyalty program providers are AppCard and Fivestars. After you sign up, customers will see your loyalty program when using the associated mobile app. Since the loyalty program integrates with your POS, customers’ reward points will accrue automatically as they make purchases.
Advantages of Third-Party Loyalty Program Solutions
- Lower up-front cost compared to developing a custom mobile app
- Easy to implement; works with all common POS systems, and the provider will walk you through the setup process
Disadvantages of Third-Party Loyalty Program Solutions
- Higher long-term cost due to ongoing monthly fees; expect to spend around $300 monthly
- Customers may see offers from your competitors when using the app
- The most prominent branding within the app is the provider’s – not yours